10 things to do this weekend

As we enter the second half of September it maybe the very last throws of summer, but there is still dozens of opportunities to get out and about this weekend. SIMON PARKIN previews 10 of the best.

1. CastleFest

Norwich Castle, September 17-18, �6.60, �4.80 children, pre-book on 01603 493625

The days when Norwich was second in importance only to London will be vividly brought to life. The first ever CastleFest will see Norwich Castle and its grounds come alive with the sights and sounds of the Middle Ages. Three different groups of costumed re-enactors will bring their authentic medieval weaponry, trades, crafts and skills to the castle so visitors can get a taste of what the atmosphere might have been like there centuries ago, as well as finding out about the people who once lived within the castle walls and the city militia who defended them. There will also be music from Myal the Piper and his minstrels.

2. Tour of Britain

Bury St Edmunds-Sandringham, September 17, 10.15pm-3.40pm

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Having drawn an estimated 130,000 people to the roadside in Norfolk last year, the UK's biggest professional cycle race heads back to the county tomorrow. One hundred of the world's leading cyclists — including British spirit king Mark Cavendish, will be setting off from Angel Hill in Bury St Edmunds at 10.15am. The race enters Norfolk at Diss and heads on for around a further 60 miles before a sprint finish on the Royal Estate at Sandring-ham. You'll be able to see them flash past at: Wymondham 12.55pm; Barnham Broom 1.05pm; Weston Longville 1.10pm; Attlebridge 1.20pm; Reepham 1.30pm.


3. Farmers' Jam

Norfolk Ski Club, September 16-18, �40 weekend/�30 day competitors, free admission for spectators, 0770 6638710.

Despite its name, the Farmers Jam isn't a weekend for rural types to sell homemade preserves, rather its an excit-ing weekend of slope shredding and daredevil antics at the Norfolk Ski Club at Trowse. Every year, the event of-fers possibly the best attitude on the UK scene and has grown into one of the biggest events in the domestic calen-dar. Expect big air, slope style, rails and quarter pipe action, all dressed up with stalls, equipment demos, live music and DJs, barbecues and a party atmosphere.


4. 1940s Weekend

North Norfolk Railway, September 17-18, �13 all day rover tickets (�12 cons), �9 children, �38 family, �1 platform tickets, 01263 820800

One of Britain's best-loved 1940s re-enactment events returns to the Poppy Line this weekend. Every station along the scenic will be protected against attack, Dads' Army troops will be practising their drill up and down the line, despatch riders will be out in force. It's hoped that an historic aircraft from the RAF's Battle of Britain Memorial Flight will add to the atmosphere. Rover tickets will be valid all day.


5. Grand Steam Rally

Henham Park, near Southwold, September 17-18, 10am-6pm, �9, under-14s free, 01502 742376

The 37th Grand Henham Steam Rally rolls back into Henham Park drawing thousands of visitors and steam enthu-siasts from across the country. Working steam demonstrations will include threshing, sawing benches and stone crushing and there will be over 300 vintage and classic cars. As well as the array of lovely vintage vehicles, there's a packed entertainment programme which includes the daredevil motorcycle Bolddog Lings Freestyle Team.


6. Holkham Cycle Ride

Holkham Hall, September 17, 10.30am-4pm, �5.50, �3.50 under-16s, �14 family, 01603 619900.

The annual Holkham Cycle Ride for Big C returns, once more raising money for this very worthy cause dedicated to local people in Norfolk & Waveney. Riders can complete the six-mile circuit in the magnificent grounds of Holkham Hall Estate as many times as they wish, or at least as many times as they are able. They can even chal-lenge themselves with the new 30-mile route which takes riders further afield in beautiful north Norfolk. The event starts at 10am and continues until 4pm.


7. Yarmouth Duck Race

The Waterways, Great Yarmouth, September 18, 2pm, 01493 844568

The 14th Haven Rotary Duck Race will see hundreds of ducks eager for starter's orders at The Waterways in Great Yarmouth. As in other years large crowds are expected to watch the charity fun race which raises money for worthy charities. Funds are raised by the pre-sale of ducks at �1 per entry, with �350 of prize money available for each race.


8. Pirate Festival

Wells-next-the-Sea, September 17-18, 10am-7pm, 01328 839000

Wells first-ever Pirate Festival gets into full swing tomorrow, with a host of events including a Treasure Trail, Pirate Market, fun on the Quay including fete, cannon firing, boat trips to 'Pirate Island', a 3pm Parade of Pirates (fancy dress), and from 6-7pm Smugglers and Spooks guided walk. On Sunday, there will be 'Hung Over Car Booty' from 10am-2pm and an 11am screening of Hook at the Granary Theatre.

9. Bat Detecting and Moth Trapping

Ted Ellis Nature Reserve, Surlingham, September 17, 7.30pm, �6, 01508 538036

Get looking for creatures of the night at this bat detecting event led by John Goldsmith and moth trapping with Stuart Wright, both local experts. Make sure you take along a torch, wellies and warm clothing. The hunt begins at 7.30pm and continues until late. The entry fee includes a hot dog supper.


10. Nelson Monument

South Denes, Yarmouth, September 17-18, �6, 01493 850698

This Grade I listed monument is only be open for a limited number of pre-booked tours. And this weekend offers a rare chance to climb all 217 steps to experience the breathtaking views — Norwich Cathedral can be seen on a clear day — and to learn more about the Monument. Tours last for 30 minutes. Due to the slim spiral staircase, only two visitors at any one time.